Will Wool Burn?

Will Wool Burn?

Did you know that Wool is one of the most versatile natural fibre materials in the world.

It’s flipping fantastic.

It’s used in… wait for it… clothes, carpets, fitness wear, blankets, house insulation, horse blankets and a thousand other places too. It can be reused and recycled, it can even be composted. It’s a totally unbeatable fabrics.

Can you tell how much we love wool?

One of our favourite things about wool is that it has a life expectancy far in excess of any other fabric on the market. A well cared for knitwear will last decades compared to a few months or years. Wool garments can be passed down generations.

Wool lives long and wool lives strong! (Possible new tagline for us there!)

Another thing? Wool is incredibly good value.

When you consider the durability, comfort, odour management, moisture wicking properties and temperature regulation of wool, you gotta think to yourself - why would you wear anything else?

Here’s one more reason why wool really is the wonder material.

We want to go into more depth about this one because, well, it can save lives…

It’s fire resistant.

The Science

Wool is structured in such a way that it requires significantly more oxygen to burn.

It doesn’t melt, drop or even stick even when it does finally burn and because of this, wool makes for a fantastic material for safety wear. Wool is widely recognised as the most flame resistant in the fibre kingdom. It knocks all the other main fibres (cotton, rayon, polyester, acrylic and nylon) out the park.

But what about this special structure?

The reason why wool is so good is mainly due to something called a high ‘Limiting Oxygen Index’. This is how we talk about the amount of oxygen something needs to sustain combustion.

Wool won’t ignite until temperatures reach in excess of 570 degrees Celsius or 1,058 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot hot hot!

When it does burn, it gives off very little heat and doesn’t stick to skin like most other fabrics. It’s not something we’d ever want to put to the test, but if someone wearing a woolen garment was to find themselves in an inferno, they would be much less likely to suffer severe burns to the skin.

The unique structure of wool fibres also stops the spread of the fire so anyone caught in a blame won’t go up like the proverbial candle as they would with other fabrics.

And do you want to know one of wool’s most significant fire resistant qualities?

It’s self extinguishing. Sounds magical, but it’s pretty simple really - because of the high moisture and nitrogen content in the woolen fibres, when the temperature drops below the threshold required for it to ignite and burn, any flames will go out.

And unlike most other materials used in clothing, even if it does ignite, wool will smoulder rather than burst into flames. Ewe better believe it!

How Wool is Used to Save Lives

Wool is one of the safest materials you can wear if you

  1. Deal with fire
  2. Have the possibility of catching on fire
  3. Try to put fires out for a living.

Wool is a genuine life saver.

It is used in essential clothing for firefighters and the parts of the military who deal with fire and explosives.

This is mostly because wool will only smoulder - rather than burn, but also because there is no risk of melting, dripping or producing toxic smoke, so the wearer is significantly less likely to experience any other injuries if they encounter the horror of something melting on their skin.

Being a firefighter or a bomb disposal expert is already an incredibly dangerous job, it’s incredibly important for those brave peeps to feel some of that reassurance that their clothing will protect them.

The burn-less properties of Wool is handy for sports too...

In racing sports, drivers and crews are required to wear woolen undergarments beneath their Nomex racing suit.

The crazy thing is that Nomex is only fireproof in temperatures of up to 400 degrees Celsius which means a racer’s suit will start burning before their underpants do…

Let that sink in for a moment.

It is now New Zealand regulation that certain Motorsport disciplines are required to wear 100% wool (mainly merino) head to toe protection. Our base layer garments are perfect for this but the certification process and the $5000 fee for it are not on our agenda to have compliant racer wear layers anytime soon.Our electrical industry has the same standards but for conduction. So they demand the guys up the poles have woolen underwear with no nylon stitching in them as its conductor. Who knew!

But wool’s use doesn’t stop there.

Carpets, upholstery, curtains and bedding can all be made from wool, and could really save your bacon by preventing the spread of fire should one break out. Think of it as an investment in your home. Knowing that your carpet could dramatically slow the spread of fire is definitely something worth considering. Baarilliant!

Here at New Zealand Natural Clothing we don’t offer firefighter gear or woolen carpets. But we do offer a fantastic range of natural fibre clothing that will keep you warm and comfortable for years to come.

And, in the unlikely event that you’re caught in a fire it’ll help keep you safe too.

To view our product range of knitwear  click here. To learn more about us and where our products come from contact us today and we’ll happily do all we can to help.